Universal acclaim - based on 86 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 86 out of 86
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 86
  3. Negative: 0 out of 86
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  1. It's got a world you believe in, a cast you care about and a script stuffed with brilliant moments... Utterly stunning in every resepct. [May 2008, p.79]
  2. 100
    I could go on and on about why Grand Theft Auto IV is one of the best games we've ever seen and why even folks who are easily offended should play it, but that would be pointless. The only thing you need to know is that you have to play this game. Period.
  3. 100
    Expectations were so high for Grand Theft Auto IV that one of the biggest surprises is that it's managed to meet them. That it's also gone on to confound these is truly a marvel, and the game's Liberty City is nothing less than one of the greatest videogame worlds yet conceived.
  4. 100
    None of these little flaws take away from Liberty City's breathtaking vistas, incredibly varied scenery, and lived-in look (the PS3 version has the slightest visual edge, plus motion-control support -- but then it's missing Achievements and the eventual downloadable episodes exclusive to the 360 game). The city just feels alive.
  5. 100
    Almost everything you do in Liberty City would be good enough to drive its own game, and the best parts would be good enough to outrun the competition, but the reason it works so well is that Rockstar has made a game that requires no patience to play. This, as much as its usual coherency and the best script in the series, is what makes GTA IV the best openworld game yet, and why it will take something miraculous to rob it of game of the year status.
  6. 100
    The very nature of the American Dream is the central theme in Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto IV, a gaming masterpiece that is a picture-perfect snapshot of the underworld of today's big cities. This is not only the finest title of the generation thus far, it is one of the best games of all-time.
  7. 100
    It's amazing that a sequel that keeps the core gameplay concepts of its prior incarnations can do so much to change itself into something new. Cabs are awesome, as is the cellphones capabilities. But perhaps the biggest innovation is the notion that you can create a game that's as valid a piece of art as any book or movie. Is this our "Citizen Kane" moment?
  8. I now know how film critics felt after screening "The Godfather." It's been days since Grand Theft Auto IV's credits rolled, yet I can't seem to construct a coherent thought without my mind wandering off into a daydream about the game. I just want to drop everything in my life so I can play it again. Experience it again. Live it again...Grand Theft Auto IV doesn't just raise the bar for the storied franchise; it completely changes the landscape of gaming.
  9. 100
    Grand Theft Auto IV lives up to its grand expectations by weaving a Hollywood-ready "American Dream" plotline with a finely-tuned game experience -- taking the tried-and-true GTA formula and plugging it into a living, breathing version of Liberty City.
  10. 100
    Considering the fact that it's been a target of political and media pundits who keep harping on the infamous "Hot Coffee" incident, it's understandable to think that Rockstar might tone down the adult themes in GTA IV. But thankfully, that didn't happen. This is a mature game, and a devilishly good one at that.
  11. We all knew GTA 4 would be a great game and sell millions of copies, but I didn't expect it to shame pretty much every other game I've played this generation.
  12. 100
    GTA IV is the best action game ever. The game has beautiful details, nice situations, extrodinary gameplay, sharp humor and great graphics. There are certainly a few minor negatives about the game, but the positive points are just too much. We have one piece of advice: Buy!
  13. Smashing down the barriers between videogames and movies, GTA4 is what happens when flawless game design and ridiculously high production values collide.
  14. 100
    A game that you simply have to play. The single-player game, which you can still play long after you complete the story, is the series' best by far, and the multiplayer features are good enough that you'll likely have no problem finding people to play with for many months to come.
  15. 100
    The important thing is that after many years of frustrating missions, driving back home to save repeatedly, struggling with wonky physics, and dealing with farcical storylines, GTA IV has delivered a polished and almost fully renovated experience with a darker and more mature treatment of the subject matter.
  16. 360 Gamer Magazine UK
    With so much to see and do that even months of play won’t cover it all and some of the tightest mechanics seen in a modern game, GTA IV is every bit as good as you could ask for it to be. You quite simply will not need another game this year.
  17. In order to describe every little thing that you see in this game would require volumes. There is a staggering level of detail and for every detail we've mentioned so far, there are at least a dozen we've missed. Still, that's the beauty of Grand Theft Auto IV: the details will always be there for you to discover yourself.
  18. 100
    Rockstar North has once again managed to elevate the GTA franchise to new levels of excellence. It's the best GTA experience to date, with a fantastic online mode to boot. Sure, this title does have its share of flaws, but when the game as a whole is nothing short of a masterpiece there is no reason as to why this game shouldn’t be a perfect ten.
  19. 100
    In my opinion, Grand Theft Auto IV is the best game of this generation, thus far, and one of the best games ever made.
  20. It's not merely the fact that Rockstar have taken an already engaging gameworld and rebuilt it from the ground up, it's the fact that they've done that, and shoehorned in realistic weather systems, day to night transitions, realtime lighting, realistic character movement and animation, realistic physics and kinetics, incidental details, solid and well written dialogue, convincing AI and non-player characters and a multiplayer system that puts other games to shame.
  21. Grand Theft Auto IV is undoubtedly one of the strongest games of this generation. The amount of content is simply mind-blowing.
  22. 100
    Although the joy of unfettered choice is already familiar to Grand Theft Auto players, GTA IV's realistic, wide-open world offers unprecedented opportunities for delightful mayhem, and a level of polish, detail and quality that's genuinely groundbreaking. What more could you want from the next generation?
  23. X-ONE Magazine UK
    A fantastic, life-affirming piece of software that has set a new standard for what the medium can achieve, with a magnificent multiplayer mode to boot. If all games were this good, no one would ever leave the house. [Issue#33, p.84]
  24. GTA IV is the kind of title every gamer must have in their collection to justify their title as said gamer. It's near perfection in all areas, and in all honesty, I won't be reaching for my copy of GTA III anymore whenever I need my fix.
  25. Yes, there's still the freedom to cause havoc, and inevitably you do; the difference is that you’re no longer impelled to toy with GTA IV's world in quite the same sadistic way - you live in it. [June 2008, p.82]
  26. Grand Theft Auto IV is not a perfect game, but it is fantastic through and through, from start to finish and beyond. It is so massive, vast and impressive that it is almost mind-boggling to imagine how much work must have gone into the game to come up with so much detail.
  27. But GTA IV will never get old, or start repeating itself. It will always offer anyone who turns it on an experience to savour.
  28. Grand Theft Auto IV is, simply, the latest way to flip the bird. And damn if such a simple gesture doesn't feel good.
  29. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    GTA4 is a traditional crime story through and through, with a script that rarely strays from its purpose, a pitch-perfect supporting cast, and an expert combination of in-game storytelling and crafted cut-scenes. [June 2008, p.80]
  30. 100
    The depth of game, the level of characters and the interaction between the populated world of Liberty City is just breathtaking.
  31. That psychological side to the game translates into characters talking about how they feel, and about what they're going through. It's extremely well-written and made a serious impact on me. This isn't the carefree killing-and-carjacking romp you might have expected.
  32. The game is fantastic, a true work of art, and should be owned by anyone who considers themselves a fan of video games. Grand Theft Auto does so many things right that calling it a "sandbox" title is doing it a harsh disservice. It does shooting better then many shooters, driving better then many racing games, and has a better, more involved story then half of the most popular RPGs.
  33. 100
    GTA IV seamlessly integrates open-world exploration and character-driven storytelling, unlike any other game to date. Liberty City is now a living, breathing work of art.
  34. 100
    An absolutely essential landmark title for the games industry. In terms of the sheer scope, emotion, ambition, and the stupidly high fun factor it offers, there is no better available in the genre today. In fact, no one else comes anywhere near.
  35. There is one thing that did stand out at all times: the story, which is undeniably one of the most fun rides you'll ever have in gaming, and one of the most compelling cast of characters to go along with it.
  36. GTA IV may not have the best graphics, gunplay, A.I. or driving, but few other games have ever combined so many elements so successfully. It excels in creating a genuinely cinematic atmosphere, with writing on par with anything Hollywood can produce and action sequences that would sit comfortably in any movie.
  37. This is an event game, the kind of thing you simply need to own ... even if you don't consider yourself a Grand Theft Auto fan.
  38. 100
    With three massive areas and your hundreds of square miles of your own personal urban jungle, this Liberty City, more than any other version, is yours to do with as you please. The possibility for creative anarchy is limited only by the expanse of your imagination.
  39. Grand Theft Auto IV is by far the most complete package I have seen in the last five to ten years.
  40. 100
    GTA IV is a game not to be missed, an experience that must be lived by everyone who claims to be a videogame player, and that once again ups the ante for the next chapter.
  41. It's a game of the decade contender. 'Nuff said.
  42. AceGamez
    It's prettier, more detailed and more fun than ever before; it may have stuck to the same formula, but it's as effortlessly brilliant as ever.
  43. 100
    Grand Theft Auto IV is a must buy if you like video games.
  44. 100
    I could go on for another couple thousand words about the amazing experience that is GTA IV, but what's most important for you to know is that this game is an absolute masterpiece.
  45. Maxi Consolas (Portugal)
    Rockstar chose to cut off some of the features from the previous games, offering instead a much richer and cohesive world, with an amazing plot and even better cast. Superb in every aspect, GTA IV is an essential experience that justifies as no other its expensive price. [June 2008]
  46. 100
    At first, GTA IV was sort of feeling like a 9/10 game to me. There were a good few moments where I shook my head and jotted down another negative. But as the experience sank in, as the story captivated me, and as the pace quickened, I was very quickly humbled. It would be ridiculous to factor these minor gripes into even one point of a percentage in terms of scoring, because of the magnitude of the game as whole.
  47. Ignore the score. This bears about as much comparison to the typical “10/10” game as black and white TV did to colour. What you want to be able to do is tell your kids fond stories of how you played GTA IV when it first came out.
  48. 100
    This game is a masterpiece! We have never seen such a harmonic virtual world before. The story is as good as a movie and the graphics offer tons of incredible moments. GTA IV is more than a game.
  49. 99
    It's not perfect, but given the equipment available today, it's as close as anyone is likely to get. Grand Theft Auto IV is Rockstar North's magnum opus and it is absolutely essential. That’s all one needs to know.
  50. This game has been a long time coming and now that it is here, I can’t even think about playing anything else, it’s that engrossing and easily the best game of the series and the year.
  51. Xbox World 360 Magazine UK
    Rockstar have surpassed themselves, delivering unquestionably the definitive GTA and perhaps the greatest videogame of all time. [June 2008]
  52. Grand Theft Auto IV is the sex, drugs, and rock and roll of video games. It's a little less brave and intimidating this time around, but it’s also the most refined and polished game in the franchise’s history. This kind of sheen is generally reserved for titles with a much smaller scope.
  53. 98
    Without a doubt, rest assured this is the best game yet for this generation. The only reason we've resisted giving it full marks is that in the same way GTA III’s template was blown out so much further in "Vice City" and "San Andreas," we're confident the next GTA on this generation will up the ante considerably.
  54. With one of the most compelling stories ever told by a video game, an extremely likeable main character, an insane amount of online modes, and virtually no flaws to be detected, GTA IV is even more than it was expected to be by fans.
  55. One of the most significant changes lies in the combat. The awkward auto-aiming of previous titles is replaced by a useful cover system and excellent lock-on aiming. The usefulness of the cover system cannot be overstated.
  56. It offers depth of experience unlike any other.
  57. Grand Theft Auto IV is simply the must have game for all mature gamers with a gaming console. Either on the Xbox 360 or PS3 you will be blown away with the vast impressive world Rockstar games has concocted in the unique-cool style that only Rockstar games can provide.
  58. It truly smashed the hype and shocked the critics. GTA IV is a game that MUST be experienced even if you haven't liked the game in the past... And what's better is that there is more to come.
  59. One of the many interesting innovations found in game is the incorporation of a mobile phone, which will become your main tool of trade.
  60. You cannot fly a plane though. But with the amount of stuff you can actually do in this game, mentioning something like that would be like complaining about the frame color on a Picasso painting.
  61. From the thankfully-revamped shooter interface to driving sequences that aren't out to simply punish you, from Hollywood-level cutscenes with great characters to a difficulty level that mostly goes up smoothly rather than in massive jumps, this is simply a better game than before.
  62. The more lifelike direction that the team went in takes a little getting used to, especially when it comes to getting behind the wheel, but once you get over the learning curve, you're handed an amazing experience and hands down the best work Rockstar North has ever put out.
  63. The pointless debate rages on whether to buy this game for the PS3 or Xbox 360, but the root of that argument is correct – you need to buy this game.
  64. The cut scenes are where the game really shines for me. There is this...this intensity in the character’s expression. Characters are actually emoting and expressing. They bring out emotions in us.
  65. It's not a perfect game, as there are a number of minor graphical and gameplay glitches, missing features from "San Andreas," more restrictive exploration, and some rather lackluster mission design. However, those minor flaws are overshadowed by the improved gunplay, amazing multiplayer and shockingly addictive social interactions that really turn GTA IV into something special.
  66. After all is said and done, despite the controversy that comes along with a Grand Theft Auto game, the artists, animators and directors have stayed true not just to their medium but to their art.
  67. Coming back to our original conundrum, GTA IV has its flaws as a game, like the sometimes problematic auto-aim shooting or the massive difficulty jump when you get to the final ten missions. But as an all-round experience it's truly, hype aside, a standout experience of gaming in 2008.
  68. If it were up to us, we'd have included a few better missions, weapons, and cars earlier in the game - if only for a temporary taste. That would definitely improve the pacing (while leaving plenty of surprises for later), and it'd have ensured that ADD players don't stop early without seeing the brilliant content that's down the road. [June 2008, p.40]
  69. In the case of GTA 4, I think there's a little bit of over hype and expectations being overly high, but when the finished product is as good as what's on offer here, then it's satisfying that GTA 4 certainly delivers a full and rounded package that will please the vast majority.
  70. Rockstar has delivered everything they needed to here—bigger, better, and most importantly more, more, more GTA. Simply put, it rocks.
  71. It is as if every great game you ever loved came together in a tantric orgy to birth the second coming of the Lord, it's just that good.
  72. This is a more refined, smoother game than its predecessors, and is almost certainly the most thoroughly interactive form of entertainment ever created, especially with the fantastic multiplayer options. But it's also more self-consciously constructed than the previous two GTA games, and in my eyes, a little less engaging.
  73. Pelit (Finland)
    Grand Theft Auto IV delivers on most of the huge expectations placed on it. The graphics are beautiful next-gen quality, the storyline is a solid piece of writing and manages to feel serious yet entertaining, but most of all the game's environment is amazing. There's so much to do in Liberty City that the game quite literally offers something for everyone. [June 2008]
    As a big fan of the franchise, I had incredibly great expectations. And I haven't been disappointed. All the series' strengths were perfectly brought over to the next generation of gaming consoles, which makes GTAIV a must-have for fans, and probably everybody else as well. But this doesn't mean that GTA IV is without weaknesses. The camera and the auto-aim-system are still giving players a hard time in bigger battles, and the basically great multiplayer-mode isn't perfectly programmed either.
  75. Despite a few graphical and control issues, it doesn’t take much away from the fantastic title that GTA IV is.
  76. To borrow a Jedi phrase, "This isn't the revolution you're looking for." Ultimately, GTA IV ends up feeling more like an upgrade than a real sequel. Strange, considering that neither "Vice City" nor "San Andreas" received the new number designation. GTA IV has fewer substantial changes and is far less ambitious than either of its two predecessors.
  77. GTA IV is the best game in the series. It's a triumph - especially in terms of design and character performance
  78. "Grand Theft Auto IV" is a remarkable title, boasting not only exceptional online play, but a terrific main story that contains much finer dialogue and character development than previous games in the series.
  79. 90
    The new art direction, investment in physics technology, and better animation sum up to a huge aesthetic improvement over previous games, giving GTA IV a level of visual appeal it strained for in the previous generation.
  80. Rockstar has outdone itself yet again, with the multiplayer portions lifting the overall game, but there's still room to improve the single-player elements, which feel recycled and drag on at times.
  81. GTA IV is a rollercoaster of emotional gaming hidden under the typical killing and murderous maiming so perfectly provided by the GTA franchise.
  82. The nature of the open-ended gameplay still makes for memorable random and not-so-random occurrences you'll repetitiously be reciting to friends, but for the most part it's nothing we haven't seen before.
  83. Perhaps the most frustrating mistake the game makes is in the car combat. When this works, it's one of the game's bright points, as passengers blast away at other cars, shredding metal, blowing out wheels, and slaughtering the occupants, but when it fails, the game is crippled by that failure.
  84. As a game, it is flawed in many aspects, but as an immersing experience, GTA IV is simply unparalleled.
  85. But when the flaws that have plagued the series since it made the move to three dimensions still have not been properly addressed and the core gameplay remains the same after seven years, it’s difficult to declare GTA IV as one of the greatest video games of all time.
  86. netjak
    The on-foot controls are an improvement but still have a long way to go before I would consider them even remotely good, and I can’t help but miss the huge world of San Andreas. That all being said, GTA IV offers up probably the most cohesive and mature story in the series to date.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 3708 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Dec 21, 2010
    Wow. I really loved this game. It in every way blew me away. A captivating, epic, and deep storyline keeps you into it the entire way through.Wow. I really loved this game. It in every way blew me away. A captivating, epic, and deep storyline keeps you into it the entire way through. Me trying to find at least one thing to complain about. Nothing. This game really deserves GOTY. And I really have to say Niko Bellic is the only character in the GTA series that you can truly connect with. Understanding his difficult life and mis-adventures you can really feel his emotions. And for a free-roaming game they really knocked me out. The free roaming really is amazing. Its awesome how they can have such a nice, luminous city and still have amazing and almost flawless graphics. As for the multi-player, I didn't really play it that much but i love the fact that you can roam around Liberty City causing as much mayhem as you want. The ranked matches are good too, with death-match (etc...) it was pretty cool to see that in a GTA game. Surely I can truly say that you have not experienced free-roam/sandbox games until you have played GTA IV. Full Review »
  2. Dec 12, 2020
    GTA 4 is absolute masterpiece that was so ahead of time that even over decade later it still beats overhyped trash like Cyberpunk 2077.
  3. Oct 24, 2011
    Something is REALLY fishy with all the extremely positive reviews of this game.
    I have played all the previous games of the series and i have
    Something is REALLY fishy with all the extremely positive reviews of this game.
    I have played all the previous games of the series and i have to say this is the most boring and overrated game of the series. I've played all the previous games and i thought they were pretty good games. After 2 hours of playing i was already bored. I tried to give this game a chance and played for another 10 hours. Then i couldn't take it anymore. The story is not interesting, the characters are not interesting and many of the previous games gameplay elements have been removed. Even if all the above are just my opinion this game definitely does not deserve 10/10 so many reviewers gave it.
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